Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Matthew T. Wilson

MATTHEW T. WILSON. In one of the July days of 1884 Matthew T. Wilson and a companion driving a team and wagon westward from Harper County reached one of the hills from which a generous prospect spread before them of the Sitka Valley. It was such a view as has gladdened the eye and heart of homeseekers and pioneers in every age of progress of mankind from the dawn of civilization. Mr. Wilson concluded that his wanderings had brought him to the very spot he was seeking above all others, and after camping over night he located his claim, the southeast quarter of section 5, township 33, range 21. Later he came to set little value upon this land, a feeling that was shared by many other of the early settlers, but in more recent years he has seen a different light, and now knows that his first choice was the choice of wisdom and one which he is not likely to regret. That claim where he had his first Kansas home is also the place of his present residence.

Mr. Wilson was born at Cape May, New Jersey, August 24, 1864, so that he was just twenty-one years old when he came to Kansas, and in the meantime had made several stages of westward progress alone or with his family. His parents were Charles B. and Margaret (Tomlin) Wilson, his mother a daughter of Matthew Tomlin of Scotch ancestry. The Tomlins and Wilsons were farmers around Cape May, New Jersey, and when Matthew Wilson was a small child his parents moved westward to Menard County, Illinois. In that locality Matthew Wilson grew to manhood and gained a country school education. His father, Charles B. Wilson, by reason of physical injuries was incapacitated for military service in the Civil war. He spent his active career as a farmer and stockman and died in Clark County, Kansas, in 1896. His wife passed away in 1900. Their children were: Matthew T.; Lou, wife of W. H. Robertson of Webb City, Missouri; Susan, who married H. T. Walton of Stony Plains, Alberta, Canada; Charles E., of Protection, Kansas; and Belle, wife of E. S. Randall, of Hastings, Nebraska.

Matthew T. Wilson came into Kansas in 1882, traveling by railroad to Harper County with his parents. He spent a couple of years in Harper County as a farmer, near Freeport, and while there he gathered up some accumulations, including a few head of stock, a pair of mules and a few dollars in cash. It was this capital and equipment he brought with him to Clark County in 1884. His money was so limited that he had to work out to support himself, and did bone hauling, breaking sod and freighting from Medicine Lodge and Dodge City. As soon as circumstances and his money would permit he entered the cattle industry, and it is as a cattleman and ranchman that his activities have proved most prosperous. He finally became dissatisfied with his original claim, and took another one, also abandoning that, and did not prove up either. His father proved up the one he now lives on. Associated with his brother Mr. Wilson acquired through the cattle industry about 2,500 acres of deeded land, and the grazing of livestock has been his first and primary industry always, agriculture having a very small part on his program. Mr. Wilson is one of the original stockholders and is vice president of the Sitka State Bank.

He has rendered good service on both school board and township board of Sitka Township. He is township trustee at present and was formerly township clerk. In party politics he has always been a republican, and in former years was frequently a delegate to county conventions. He cast his first presidential vote for Blaine in 1884. Mr. Wilson is senior warden of Protection League of Masons and is a past noble grand of Protection Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Mr. Wilson was a single man when he came to Kansas, and remained so until January 1, 1890, when he married in Clark County Cora McMinimy, daughter of William W. and Mary (Burgess) McMinimy. Her father was an early settler of Clark County, coming from Arkansas. Mrs. Wilson was born in Benton County, Arkansas, May 1, 1870. Her parents were Scotch-Irish. Her father was born in the United States of Scotch parents. He died in Clark County on his farm and his widow is still living there. W. W. McMinimy was a Union soldier, going out with a Kansas regiment. He was one of the territorial settlers of Kansas, and one of the oldest pioneers of the state. In politics he followed the fortunes of the republican party. The McMinimy children were: Mrs. Eva Bare, William A., Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Belle Bachman, Mrs. Charles E. Wilson, Thomas H. and Albert M., most of whom are still identified with Clark County. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have three children: William S., Cora and Charles B. William S., a farmer near the old homestead, married Grace Hilliard and has two daughters, Marjory and Rosa.